Veriflow Secures $2.9M Seed Round
OAKLAND, CA Veriflow, the network breach and outage prevention company, today announced its launch with $2.9 million in initial investor funding.
The funding comes from New Enterprise Associates (NEA), the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense. The new software, designed for CISOs, network architects, engineers and operators, uses mathematical network verification, which is based on the principles of formal verification, to bulletproof today's most complex networks. Veriflow's patented technology provides solutions across the multi-billion dollar networking market to minimize the security breaches and costly disasters that can result from network failure.
Why Networks Fail
There are four primary reasons why today's network infrastructure is vulnerable to breaches and outages:
Complexity: The cloud, network virtualization (including NFV), software-defined network solutions, mobile devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) all add incredible complexity to network management.
Change: On average, network operators make 1,000 changes per month to an enterprise or service-provider network, actions that open the door to unforeseen configuration errors.
The Human Factor: At the operational, design or architectural level, more than 80 percent of network failures can be attributed to human error or malicious behavior.*
Poor Policy Management: One out of three enterprises and service providers lacks policies for IT, Information Security and data encryption, while 71 percent lack critical knowledge of which policies to institute to mitigate vulnerabilities and disruption.**
'Organizations typically make an initial investment in network infrastructure and have a vision for their ideal network's security, resilience and agility,' said Jim Brear, president and CEO at Veriflow. 'And yet, no matter how much money organizations continue to throw at point security products, outages and breaches are an everyday occurrence. Veriflow's founders stepped back, took a hard look at the landscape and said, 'There has to be a better way to bulletproof today's networks.' It turns out there is, and it's driven by the principles of formal verification.'
Applying Formal Verification to the Network
Formal verification is not a new concept. It uses sophisticated algorithms to prove or disprove the correctness of a system with respect to certain functional specifications. This process is frequently used by organizations with products that absolutely cannot fail. For example, NASA rovers are still traversing the Martian landscape years after landing because the correctness of their flight software was mathematically verified before deployment. Similar trusted 24/7/365 technology is embedded into mission-critical airplane flight controls, medical devices and military defense systems.
Veriflow is the first networking company to apply similar formal verification, along with network policy best practices, to secure today's most complex and dynamic networks.
'An enterprise that claims its network is 98 percent reliable may sound responsible and highly functional, but who in their right mind would board an airplane if they knew that two out of 100 could fall out of the sky at any given moment,' said Brighten Godfrey, CTO at Veriflow. 'There's no reason why networks can't be just as trustworthy as other mission-critical devices and applications. And we've figured out how to protect networks from change-induced outages and breaches mathematically.'
Using mathematical network verification, Veriflow enables enterprises to prevent the outages and breaches that lead to astronomical losses. Unlike techniques such as penetration testing and traffic analysis, Veriflow performs mathematically exhaustive analysis of an entire network's state and does so proactively -- before vulnerabilities can be exploited, and without waiting for users to experience outages. This approach enables strong guarantees of correctness. If there is a network policy violation, Veriflow will find it and provide a precise identification of the vulnerability and how to fix it. Veriflow can also provide mathematical evidence that the network is correct, giving enterprises the confidence to change their infrastructures.
About the Team
President and CEO James Brear brings a strong track record in network policy and protection to the company. Previously, he was the CEO of Procera until its successful acquisition by Francisco Partners in August 2015.
Veriflow co-founders CTO Brighten Godfrey, Ph.D.; CSO Matthew Caesar, Ph.D.; and Principal Engineer Ahmed Khurshid, Ph.D., co-invented Veriflow's patented network verification technology. Dr. Godfrey has conducted research in networked systems and algorithms for more than a decade; he has received an ACM SIGCOMM Rising Star Award and an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. Dr. Caesar has worked in the area of network security for over two decades, which included work on the Routing Control Platform, a forerunner of software-defined networking (SDN). Dr. Caesar and Dr. Godfrey are also professors in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Khurshid, a Fulbright Scholar, has a strong background in improving the security and availability of networked systems and designed and built the first real-time data-plane verification system.
'What attracted us to Veriflow is that it is first and foremost a networking company,' said Pete Sonsini, general partner at NEA. 'While security point solutions have their place in an organization's network, we believe Veriflow's innovative approach helps close the security gaps that are frequently attributed to human error, such as misconfigured devices, poor policy management and insider threats. Unlike other network security vendors that can scan individual devices, Veriflow actually automates policy verification network-wide. This is a first in the industry.'
Veriflow has already generated revenue and is currently in production networks and lab trials with Federal government agencies as well as with multiple Fortune 500 companies in the financial services, retail, manufacturing, e-commerce and telecom markets. The Veriflow solution is expected to become generally available in the second half of 2016. For more information, please visit http://www.veriflow.net/
About New Enterprise Associates
New Enterprise Associates, Inc. (NEA) is a global venture capital firm focused on helping entrepreneurs build transformational businesses across multiple stages, sectors and geographies. With nearly $17 billion in cumulative committed capital since the firm's founding in 1977, NEA invests in technology and healthcare companies at all stages in a company's lifecycle, from seed stage through IPO. The firm's long track record of successful investing includes more than 200 portfolio company IPOs and more than 320 acquisitions since its founding in 1977. For additional information, visit www.nea.com.
Veriflow is the first networking company to use formal verification to eliminate change-induced network outages and breaches. The company's mathematical network verification technology gives organizations the confidence to make changes by eliminating risks associated with modifying the network. The software also ensures network policy correctness and sends alerts whenever any change that may impact the network is detected, including intentional changes due to insider sabotage. The company was created by a team of computer science professors and Ph.D. students in the EnterpriseWorks incubator at the University of Illinois, and is backed by New Enterprise Associates (NEA), the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Defense. Veriflow has already demonstrated success in multiple Fortune 500 and government networks. The company is headquartered in Oakland, California, and has a development center in Champaign, Illinois. To learn more, visit http://www.veriflow.net/ and follow us on Twitter @veriflowsystems.
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